The following is a brief summary of the main points of Modood’s Kohlberg Memorial Lecture (prepared by Larry Blum):
Western European nations, and Francophone Canada, have retreated from using “multiculturalism” as a term referring to a positive phenomenon. The term has become stigmatized.
TM still defends multiculturalism, which he defines as aiming at the integration of immigrant and immigrant-origin minorities into societies and polities with a dominant, numerical majority ethnocultural group. This integration requires change and mutual adjustment on the part of the majority community and the minority communities.
TM recognizes that “interculturalism” is regarded as an acceptable term that has come to replace “multiculturalism” especially in Europe and Canada. He did not speak about the differences between interculturalism and multiculturalism, except to note briefly that he thought the Quebec version had a stronger emphasis on the normative primacy of French Canadian culture in Quebec as providing a framework for (multiculturalist) integration of minorities. His talk did not speak to the issue of “interculturalism,” and he recognized this. (TM’s views on this issue can be found in Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood, “How Does Interculturalism Contrast with Multiculturalism,” Journal of Intercultural Studies, 33:2, 175-196.)
Referring to the prominent Canadian multicultural theorist Will Kymlicka, TM agrees with Kymlicka that issues of “integration” are different for immigrant groups and for indigenous peoples. While Kymlicka discusses these differences, TM’s notion of multiculturalism does not take on indigeneity issues and he does not discuss them in his writing on multiculturalism, nor in his KML. But, to repeat, he does not think that his model works for indigenous peoples.
TM thinks that despite the semantic retreat from “multiculturalism” in Europe and Canada, in practice the nations in question have largely adopted multiculturalist policies.
TM (himself a somewhat secular Muslim) is particularly concerned about Muslim integration in Europe, and recognizes that the retreat from multiculturalism is largely, though not entirely, due to majority concerns about Muslim minorities. TM thinks that multiculturalism should expressly embrace religious accommodation and diversity, thus abandoning a strict public secularism (such as is expressed in the French idea of laïcité).